During Engineers Week, HARMAN is recognizing some of our brilliant designers and inventors who are creating the innovative solutions that are shaping our industry. HARMAN’s Head of the Client Group, Shay Sheffer, is one of HARMAN’s accomplished engineers responsible for delivering the next generation of software management.


Based in Israel, Shay leads three SCRUM teams that focus on delivering the next generation of software management client. As experts in their field, the team is re-inventing software management concepts in the automotive, mobile and IOT industries. New features are designed, implemented, tested and delivered to Harman customers with the highest quality. The team members are no strangers to onsite integrations for new features and to complete system upgrades; each team works closely with automakers to ensure that the products and solutions that HARMAN develops for connected vehicles work seamlessly and effectively. The client group is part of the end to end software management solution, which provides HARMAN customers the ability to manage the different software components seamlessly using a cloud based back end. The solution supports delta technology which allows the most efficient file-transfer protocol in the world. Part of the many responsibilities of the client group is the integration of the back end capability along with the delta technology facilitator and the updated devices.

The teams’ current focus: Over-the-Air (OTA) updates. The influential technology that powers OTA updates is continuously evolving, and incredibly complicated. As vehicles become more connected, the number of components that require updates continues to rise. Over time, there may be thousands of components that will require software upgrades. With all the software installed in cars – whether to play a song, power navigation systems or even to adjust your seat - defects or bugs in the code are bound to occur. By solving these glitches via OTA updates, HARMAN can take the burden off the end user and avoid exhausting internal bandwidth, which in turn provides the OEM with more control.


Why exactly are OTA updates so important? The more connected our vehicles become, the more vulnerable they are to cyberattacks. According to a study by ABI Research, more than 200 million connected vehicles around the world will receive OTA updates by 2022. If one-third of defects that lead to recalls can be resolved via an OTA update instead of a trip to the dealership, automakers could save up to $6 billion per year. Consider a recent scenario in which two hackers were able to connect to a vehicle’s command and entertainment system remotely. The driver lost control of the dashboard functions, steering, brakes and transmission as the car was controlled by a laptop that was miles away. But the issue wasn’t just the breach in security, says Shay. The problem was how to reverse the breach and prevent future attacks from occurring. Without OTA capability, the only way the automakers could patch the code and upgrade the software was to send USB sticks to each individual owner and recall the vehicles, which meant drivers were required to take their cars and USBs to an auto repair shop in order to update the internal technology. If the vehicles were equipped to receive OTA updates, the patch could have been deployed remotely, for every car, from the automaker’s headquarters. All at the push of a button.


HARMAN strives to update as many separate components in the vehicles as possible, and therein lies another challenge. Connected vehicles contain several different pieces of software and a variety of operating systems and hardware. It’s not always guaranteed that all in-vehicle communication networks will be compatible. This type of architecture and the number of factors that must be taken into consideration increases the complexity of writing and implementing these OTA solutions. Together, Shay and our dedicated teams in Israel and worldwide have worked tirelessly to solve these problems and establish HARMAN as a leading provider in OTA technology.

All smart devices, from voice-enabled speakers to the connected car, must continue to evolve and remain current with emerging trends, standards and security requirements. Over the years, Shay has seen the Client Group grow from a junior stage with a very young product to a prominent forerunner in delivering complex solutions that address the complete product lifecycle. Shay’s leadership, dedication and guidance has greatly contributed to HARMAN’s successful development of OTA solutions that help automakers utilize a more reliable, convenient, secure and efficient way to upgrade their vehicle software.

Check back this week for more stories here about the different ways HARMAN’s engineers are shaping the future of the audio, automotive and connected services industries.